Westbury: Lesser estates

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.

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, 'Westbury: Lesser estates', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds, (London, 1965) pp. 163-165. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol8/pp163-165 [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Westbury: Lesser estates", in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds, (London, 1965) 163-165. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol8/pp163-165.

. "Westbury: Lesser estates", A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds, (London, 1965). 163-165. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol8/pp163-165.


Land at HEADINGHILL ('Hevedlingell') with a pasture (vaccaria) there was held in 1166-7 by Leon de Lohareng'. (fn. 1) Ten years later Leon owed the same rent from the holding but had been disseised of it by Alan de Neville. (fn. 2) The estate passed to the Pavelys and may have been one of the two pastures stocked for Reynold Pavely when he acquired the manor of Westbury in 1173. (fn. 3) On the death of Walter Pavely in 1256 Headinghill was named as one of the estates making up the manor of Westbury, (fn. 4) and in 1323 it was said to be one of the manors making up the demesne of Walter's son, another Walter Pavely. (fn. 5) On the second partition of Sir John Pavely's lands in 1368 Headinghill, as part of the manor of Westbury, was allotted to John St. Lo for his daughters Joan, wife of Sir John Chidiock, and Eleanor, wife of Thomas de Bradeston. (fn. 6) After the death of St. Lo in 1375 Headinghill and the manor of Westbury were divided between these two daughters and Headinghill presumably descended with the capital manor. (fn. 7) In 1740 land-tax for Headinghill in the tithing of Bratton was payable by Mr. Houlton and Jonathan Ballard. (fn. 8)

In 1323 there was said to be a capital messuage with garden and a little grove at Headinghill besides the arable, pasture, and meadow lands. (fn. 9) At the time of the division of the estate between Joan Chidiock and Eleanor of Bradeston the west part of the court of Headinghill, with a chamber over the gate, the 'dayhouse', and sheephouse were allotted to Joan and her husband, while the east part of the same court with the gate at the entrance went to Eleanor and Thomas de Bradeston. (fn. 10) A rent of £6 from the manor of Westbury and the hamlets of Headinghill, Stoke, Melborne, and Leigh, i.e. Joan and Eleanor's share of Sir John Pavely's lands, was to be paid to Sir John's daughter, Joan, wife of Ralph Cheyney. Headinghill is mentioned in connexion with this rent in 1420. (fn. 11)

An estate called REDLANDS is probably the same as the vaccaria de Redelanda held in 1166-7 by Alfric the cowherd. (fn. 12) Alfric continued to pay rent for this until 1173-4 after when his name disappears from the Pipe Rolls. (fn. 13) It thus presumably formed part of the capital manor, which was granted away then, and has not been traced as a separate estate until the 17th century. In 1682 Jeffery Whitaker paid rent to the lord of the manor of Bratton for Redlands, (fn. 14) and in 1685 Henry Whitaker devised the lease of Redlands to his son Thomas. (fn. 15) In 1740 both Mrs. Susannah Whitaker and John Whitaker Hinton were assessed for landtax for Redlands, (fn. 16) and in 1758 William Whitaker devised his freehold estate of Redlands to his son William. (fn. 17) In 1840 the property was owned by Philip Whitaker (fn. 18) who was leasing a large part of the Bratton Grange estate. (fn. 19) Redlands Farm, which probably represents this estate, lies in the north of the parish of Bratton. (fn. 20)

An estate, lying partly in BRATTON and partly in DILTON, was in the 13th century held by the Dauntseys. (fn. 21) In c. 1250 parts of this were alienated by Richard Dauntsey to Richard of Dene, the chaplain of Dilton, Roceline of Bratton, Richard and John of Bratton, Geoffrey Scudamore, Alan FitzWarin, Walter Pavely, Richard Burnel, Philip Marmium, the Prior of Monkton Farleigh, the church of Westbury, and others. (fn. 22)

The descent of some of these small estates can be partially traced over a short period. Richard of Bratton held land in Bratton by 1241 (fn. 23) and pasture in Stoke by 1249. (fn. 24) Part of his property appears to have passed to coheirs, for in 1281 John le Lung, Maud his wife, William Sparkeling, Sarah his wife, and Margery, sister of Sarah, conveyed, a messuage and three virgates of land in Bratton to Geoffrey of Bratton. (fn. 25) In 1304 Geoffrey conveyed his holding in Bratton to Walter Pavely, retaining only a life interest in the property for himself. (fn. 26) This part of Bratton, together with the land there granted by Richard Dauntsey to Walter's grandfather(see above) presumably became merged in the capital manor of Westbury. (fn. 27)

The land conveyed to Alan FitzWarin by Richard Dauntsey passed to Nicholas FitzWarin, who forfeited it as a rebel in 1322. (fn. 28) It appears to have been restored to his heirs and in 1349 was granted by Margery, widow of Reynold FitzWarin, to her son Robert. (fn. 29) The estate conveyed to Geoffrey Scudamore remained in his family until 1342, when it was sold by Margery, wife of Sir Peter Scudamore, to William son of Nicholas FitzWarin. (fn. 30) Land in Bratton, which probably included these two holdings, was held by Sir William FitzWarin in 1361 when the reversion was granted to the Bonhommes of Edington. (fn. 31)

The conveyances of Richard Dauntsey to Philip Marmium and the church of Westbury probably went to enlarge the manors already held by them in Westbury. (fn. 32) His grant of land to the priory of Monkton Farleigh was presumably added to two virgates in Bratton which Ernulf de Mandeville had given to the priory. (fn. 33) The monks had also acquired an assart of 40 a. at Headinghill by grant of Henry II c. 1185-9. (fn. 34) It was possibly early in the 13th century that they granted their land in Bratton, amounting to ½ hide, to Roger Cook in fee, reserving a rent. (fn. 35) Nothing more is known of the descent of this property except that it must eventually have passed to the house of Bonhommes at Edington, and so was re-united with the manor of Bratton.

The Lungs apparently did not alienate all their property in Bratton in 1281 (see above). In 1325-6 Ralph le Lung of Coulston held land there, (fn. 36) and in 1343-4 he and his wife Eleanor conveyed land in Bratton and elsewhere to Nicholas Chamberlain. (fn. 37) In the same year Nicholas conveyed the property to John of Edington, Ralph le Lung and his wife retaining a life interest in each transaction. (fn. 38) From John of Edington it passed in 1362 to the religious house founded at Edington by his uncle, William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 39) At about the same date other parcels of land in Bratton were given to the Bonhommes of Edington, possibly by the descendants of those persons to whom Richard Dauntsey alienated his holding. John Videlu and Joan his wife gave some land there in 1373. (fn. 40) John Bonham and John Mareys gave a messuage and land in 1392. (fn. 41) Other properties were acquired by the rector in 1427 from John Frank, Thomas Touke and others. (fn. 42)

The carucate in Bratton which Richard Dauntsey retained for himself in 1250 (see above) passed with the manor of Dilton until 1364 when Walter Dauntsey conveyed it to Robert Gundevyne and Thomas Jurdan, (fn. 43) who the same year obtained licence to convey it to the Rector of Edington. (fn. 44)

In 1249 the Prior of Monkton Farleigh conveyed a virgate of land at BROOKWAY ('Brocweye') to Walter of Brookway. (fn. 45) Walter's father had previously acquired a wood called Holt from Robert de Manners and both pieces of property were henceforth to be held of the prior for a rent of 7s. a year. (fn. 46) The estate was probably in the south-west corner of the modern parish of Dilton Marsh, and a farm called Brookway Farm is marked there on the Tithe Map of 1848. (fn. 47) In 1290 it was found that a conveyance of the estate, then said to comprise a messuage, 30 a. of arable, and 19 a. of meadow in Brookway and Westbury, would be of no damage to the king, but would deprive Walter Pavely of a suit every three weeks at the hundred court. (fn. 48) The overlordship of the estate apparently remained with the priory of Monkton Farleigh until the Dissolution. In 1545 the estate was held by John Brookway and a rent of 12s. from it was granted to John Adlam, who at that date acquired the manor of Leigh Priors which had also formerly belonged to Monkton Farleigh. (fn. 49)

This estate called SEWELLS or SHEWELLS probably originated in the holding of the family of Sewale. In 1280-1 Reynold de Sewale held 4 a. in the hundred of Westbury. (fn. 50) In 1341 lands and rent in Westbury, Heywood, Bratton, and Leigh were settled upon Walter Sewale and Emma his wife with remainder in tail to Walter son of Walter, and remainder in default to Hugh FitzWarin and Joan his wife. (fn. 51) Later the holding passed to the Westbury family probably through the marriage of Katharine, daughter of William FitzWarin, with William of Westbury. (fn. 52) William of Westbury held it at the time of his death in 1449 when it is described as the manor of Sewales and was held of John Seymour, (fn. 53) lord of the manor of Westbury Seymour. (fn. 54) Sewales passed, possibly in the same way as Westbury Leversage, (fn. 55) to Sir James Ley who was seised of it, then apparently called Shewells or Sewells, at the time of his death in 1629. (fn. 56) The exact location of this estate is unknown but in 1629 it was described as lying in Heywood, Bratton, and Westbury; (fn. 57) it was then worth 40s. a year.

HAWKERIDGE was never described as a manor but its existence as a separate estate can be traced back to the 14th century. When the second partition of Sir John Pavely's lands was made in 1368, Hawkeridge, then described as a hamlet, went to Ralph Cheyney and his wife Joan, a daughter of Sir John. (fn. 58) Ralph and Joan also received the manor of Brook by this partition and Hawkeridge seems to have descended with that manor to Charles, Lord Mountjoy (d. 1606), who in 1599 sold tenements in Hawkeridge to Sir James Ley. (fn. 59) From then on the estate followed the descent of the capital manor of Westbury.

The family of Phipps of Heywood also had an estate in Hawkeridge. This was sold in 1810 by Thomas Peckham Phipps to George Dyer, who also acquired from Thomas in the same year an estate known as the Stert estate. (fn. 60)

An estate called LAYFIELDS was described as a manor in the 16th century and was apparently a part of the manor of Brook. (fn. 61) This, comprising 50 a., was sold in 1599 by Lord Mountjoy (d. 1606) to Jasper More of Heytesbury. (fn. 62) The estate passed to Jasper's two daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Guise, and the wife of Shilston Calmady. Both shares were later united in John, son of Sir William Guise, and in 1691 were conveyed by this John's son, also called John, to Thomas Phipps. At this time the property was farmed by Cuthbert Elkins. The same year Thomas Phipps let the estate to Rachel Gawen, widow, of Westbury for lives, reserving suit to the manors of Dilton and Chalford. In 1719 the estate was conveyed to Paul Phipps (d. 1722) and from Paul it passed in the Phipps family to Thomas Henry Hele Phipps of Leighton House (d. 1841). In 1756 the estate comprised two pieces of land called Great and Lower Layfield, which lay in Brook. (fn. 63)

In 1682 land on the manor of BRATTON was being leased by Sir Thomas Thynne (d. 1714) to Henry Ballard. (fn. 64) Sir Thomas Thynne leased lands to William Ballard, yeoman, in 1690, (fn. 65) and a Timothy Ballard was one of the chief rent-payers on the manor in the later 17th century. (fn. 66) In 1732 John Aldridge Ballard had a freehold estate in Bratton and other members of the Ballard family leased lands there from the Marquess of Bath. (fn. 67) Some time before 1830 the property of the Ballards in Bratton appears to have passed by marriage to Edward Seagram M.D. (fn. 68) In 1842 Edward Frowd Seagram, of Bratton House, was leasing Grange Farm and approximately 200 a. from Lord Bath and had a freehold estate in Bratton of about the same size. (fn. 69) Bratton House continued to be occupied by members of the Ballard and Seagram families until the beginning of the 20th century when it passed, also by marriage, to the Diggle family. (fn. 70) In c. 1934 it was bought by Sir Horace Seymour. (fn. 71)

Bratton House was built in 1715 by William Ballard and his initials with the date appear on the rainwater heads. The original building is of three stories and basement. It is rectangular in plan with tall symmetrical fronts of 7 and 5 bays. The walls are of brick, later cement rendered, and have stone dressings. Above the central door on the south front is a broken pediment and crest, while the doors on the east and west fronts have stone shell hoods. Internally there is a contemporary staircase. The house has been enlarged at two different periods.


  • 1. Pipe R. 1166-7 (P.R.S. xi), 128.
  • 2. Ibid. 1176-7 (P.R.S. xxvi), 98.
  • 3. Ibid. 1172-3 (P.R.S. xix), 106.
  • 4. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242-1326 (Index Libr.), 18.
  • 5. Ibid. 435.
  • 6. See p. 149.
  • 7. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242-1326 (Index Libr.), 387 and see p. 149.
  • 8. Longleat MS. 6594.
  • 9. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242-1326 (Index Libr.), 435. Headinghill seems to have been situated somewhere in the tithing of Bratton: see p. 144.
  • 10. Ibid. 387.
  • 11. C 138/46/46.
  • 12. Pipe R. 1167 (P.R.S. xi), 128.
  • 13. Ibid. 1174 (P.R.S. xxi), 30.
  • 14. Longleat MS. 6592.
  • 15. W.N. & Q. iv. 202.
  • 16. Longleat MS. 6594.
  • 17. W.N. & Q. iv. 207.
  • 18. W.R.O. Tithe Award.
  • 19. See p. 161.
  • 20. O.S. Map 1/25,000 sheet 31/85.
  • 21. See p. 152.
  • 22. Bk. of Fees, ii. 1178, 1225.
  • 23. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1193-1272, ed. Fry, p. 34.
  • 24. Ibid. p. 42. For Stoke see p. 144.
  • 25. Feet of F. Wilts. 1272-1327 (W.A.S. Rec. Brch.), 15.
  • 26. Ibid. 50.
  • 27. See p. 149.
  • 28. S.C. 6/1145 no. 12.
  • 29. W.N. & Q. ii. 561.
  • 30. B.M. Lansd. MS. 442, f. 99.
  • 31. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327-77 (Index Libr.), 301; V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 321.
  • 32. See pp. 153, 157.
  • 33. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 279.
  • 34. Cartae Antiquae, ii (P.R.S. N.S. xxxiii), p. 59.
  • 35. W.N. & Q. iii. 279. The name of the prior, John, is hitherto unrecorded, but he probably flourished between 1208 and 1227: V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 268. This grant must be before 1227: Dugdale. Mon. Angl. v. 27.
  • 36. Feet of F. Wilts. 1272-1327 (W.A.S. Rec. Brch.), 120.
  • 37. C.P. 25(1)/254/45.
  • 38. C.P. 25(1)/255/46/10.
  • 39. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327-77 (Index Libr.), 301; B.M. Lansd. MS. 442, f. 61; V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 321.
  • 40. C.P. 25(1)/255/52/31.
  • 41. Cal. Pat. 1391-6, 156.
  • 42. Ibid. 1422-9, 398.
  • 43. B.M. Lansd. MS. 442, f.91d; and for manor of Dilton see p. 152.
  • 44. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327-77 (Index Libr.), 331-2; B.M. Lansd. MS. 442, ff. 92 and 92d.
  • 45. C.P. 25(1)/251/16/88.
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. W.R.O. Tithe Map, and see P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 150.
  • 48. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242-1326 (Index Libr.), 183.
  • 49. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), p. 420, and see p. 157.
  • 50. J.I. 1/1002 m. 44.
  • 51. C.P. 25(1)/254/45/2.
  • 52. C 140/84/36.
  • 53. C 139/139/23.
  • 54. See p. 150.
  • 55. See p. 157.
  • 56. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1626-47 (Index Libr.), 232-6.
  • 57. Ibid. 235, see also P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 479.
  • 58. B.M. Lansd. MS. 442 f. 145; see p. 149.
  • 59. C 54/1621/Mountjoy and Ley.
  • 60. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Westbury, 41.
  • 61. C.P. 40/1113 rot. 5d., 6.
  • 62. Unless otherwise stated this and subsequent information about the descent of Layfields from MS. Cal. Deeds at Chalcot House.
  • 63. W.R.O. 212B/We, Plan of the property.
  • 64. Longleat MS. 6592.
  • 65. W.R.O. 212B/We, Deed Thos. Thynne-Wm. Ballard, 1690.
  • 66. Longleat MS. 6593.
  • 67. Ibid. 6591.
  • 68. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Westbury, 160.
  • 69. W.R.O. Tithe Award.
  • 70. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1903).
  • 71. Ex inf. Sir Horace Seymour, Bratton House.